The Dink Network

Part 2: EdgeRunner

July 7th 2005, 02:57 AM
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Striker
Noble United States steam
Daniel, there are clowns. 
Chapter 1: Disturbance
This is from a story I wrote for a Deus Ex mod several years ago (what seems like ages now. It was supposed to be based in Neuromancer like world... though after I learned about their planned plot, it turned out to be a straight rip of Neuromancer, so I attempted to tell a new story in a world very, very much the same. Enjoy! Now, if only redink1 would enable font size changes, this would look less like crap.

Five Years Later… Glidden sat down across from the fat man. “I heard the beer here great.”

The fat man responded in kind. “It’s piss poor actually, you should stick to the non-alcoholic drinks... if you’re a fool,” he added with a wink.

Glidden nodded weakly, “So you’re my dealer?”

The fat man frowned, “Dealer? Jesus, you’re green. Didn’t they even bother to teach you the lingo? ‘round here, I’m what you’d call a linx.”

“So we make it look like we makin’ a hook?”

“Hook, eh… Well, that’s a little better.” The fat man made a broad grin. “Call me Loftland. And you must be?”

“Call me Glidden.”

Loftland seemed impressed, “Good, that's nice respectable sounding name. Most men here go by something like that. Maybe you not as gill as I thought, Glidden.”

There was an awkward silence before Loftland continued, “Anyway, I suppose you want to know what the score is tonight.”

Glidden nodded.

“Well, tell you what, I’ll let you what, I’ll give you a quick surf of our arena for tonight.”

Loftland lifted his index finger while still holding his glass and began pointing to the various people throughout the bar.

He motioned toward a few of the other men seated in dark corners of the cantina. “Well, you got your regular linx, like me…” Loftland chuckled. “These guys aren’t too bad, for bar linx.”

He then pointed his finger at the gorgeous women crowed around an ostentatious black man with a pink and purple trench coat and dreds that nearly reached the ground. “That would be the 'illustrius' Kel Carlton and those are his property. Most are so strung out on Brill that he has to lead them around everywhere. The only thing nice about that is it makes ‘em whole lot more suited for the their jobs. By the way, all those dogs are fake, in case you’re wondering. Carlton’s just waggin’ right now, waitin’ for the rest of his cows come home to daddy, if you know what I'm saying.” Loftland chuckled with a sly grin, seemingly impressed with his own innuendo.

Loftland continued, “Next to them is Alexi. Veteran samurai. Came here about a year ago from Krakow, but already knows the way through these streets like the back of his hand. He’s one of two guys here who wear sunglasses all the time.”

“Then, of course, there’s Wilhelm, the bartender. Great guy, really. Old corper counter-terrorist from Europe. He bought this bar upon retirement. One of the few good people in the neighborhood. He's very clear about the unwritten rules, don't do anything stupid and you won't get shot.”

“Now, down at the end of bar, the other guy in the shades, that’s the man we need to watch.”

“I don’t know much about him personally, only rumors. He’s seldom around when I am. All I know for sure is that he goes by the name of Shade, and that he’s one hell of a fighter as well as one cold sumbiatch. He’s become a reluctant celebrity around here. Took down an entire gang of Joe Boys with bare fists, then flattened a one ton mech in 15 seconds. It was a complete massacre.”

“Impressive, so what are we supposed to do with this guy?”

“Stay on his good side.”

................

Shade brooded over his drink. The past years had seemed to be a blur. He had made his way to the relative safety of Chiba in the West. Along the way he had seen and done things that would turn a normal man’s hair gray, which wasn’t to infrequent a trait among some of the other long-time survivors here in the Ninsei Underworld. “Too many…” he thought to himself, “…my hand has servered the threads of too many.” It wasn’t supposed to get him like this, it wasn't part of his programming, He was born a killer. “It’s perfectly natural, you know. You don’t have the memories to help you deal with these things. The rest do, you're defective. But, you know they would have killed you, if given the chance. You are still alive, so you are still superior.”

It didn’t matter anyway. Nothing did. He was no closer to the truth than when he started out. “What the hell are you doing here?” He had no immediate answer. “I am doing what I am compelled to be doing till someone gets lucky enough...”

A voice from over the counter brought him out of his internal debate, “Mann, I gets lots of types in here, but I have never seen one so gloomy as you, friend.”

Shade looked up at the bartender and smiled morosely.

Seeing that his customer was at least slightly amused, the ugly man continued, “As I say, dang it, mann. Of all the people that get high here, you’re the only one who actually should... at least, a little” He held up a glass of Sake in front of his jaggedly smiling face.

The bartender had achieved his goal; Shade couldn’t help but make a sincere grin.

“You’d like that wouldn’t you, Wilhelm? Crash and burn like the rest.”

“Nein, I’d hate to loose such a steady customer.”

“You know I can’t spend every waking moment here like everyone else, but if I could, I… might.”

Wilhelm made a noise in the back of his throat, “Sir, I think we can both agree the level of sarcasm and irony is getting unbearable.”

“I’ll drink to that.”

The aging man let out a short ear-splitting laugh, a little out of place considering the joke, “You are sharp of wit today. I like that.”

Shade looked down towards his electrolyte drink, “Actually, it matters little what day it is. I’m just more comfortable when there aren’t any crowds.”

“Well, I would say this qualifies, now that Kel and his herd have left. Heh, Alexi passed out again, and Loftland is off in the corner doing who knows what.”

“I don't know Loftland... so why exactly did you feel the need to bother me?” Shade said half-jokingly, but in a tone that suggested that he was also dead serious.

“You’re strange one, Herr Merc,” said Wilhelm, who followed with his answer, “Akki has been looking for you, again…” Shade couldn’t quite place it, but there was something odd about the way Wilhelm said that.

Shade responded counter cryptically, “It’s somewhat comforting that a few manage to survive.”

Shade noticed the discomfort in Wilhelm's eyes and posture after he spoke those words. “Ya, you should go see her, at the spot where you last saw her. That’s what I was told to tell you.”

Shade pushed himself the barstool and stretched, “Yes, I suppose I should, Wilhelm.” He put the credits for his electrolyte drink down on the bar, “Keep the change,” and walked out into the waning night.

“Poor fellow,” Wilhelm thought to himself, “he’s going to break soon... I know it.”
July 7th 2005, 08:24 PM
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Tal
Noble Male United States xbox steam
Super Sexy Tal Pal 
Nice. There are a handful of spelling/grammar errors and the occasional missing word, but it's written well enough that you can forgive the few mistakes and fill in the blanks. The story itself seems fairly well-written and intriguing, and I hope you manage to share more, but I think it would be beneficial (for me, at least) to have a chapter to introduce some of the characters and their traits, or at least descriptions appearing as the characters surface.

I like it.
July 7th 2005, 09:22 PM
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Striker
Noble United States steam
Daniel, there are clowns. 
Yeah, that's always a flaw of mine. No matter how many times I edit, it seems I miss a few words.

Yeah, it was an excerpt, a few of the characters were introduced earlier, but that would be useful.